Metal, Metal Monday

Metal Monday -Not All Press, is Good Press

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Mic check…One, Two…

Are you all paying attention now? Good!

I don’t post as much as I would like on Metal Mondays, and this particular topic I debated whether or not I wanted to post it at all. I already said a quick word on it on my personal Facebook, but there’s just something about this that rubs me the wrong way. For most of you who know me, you know I am heavily opinionated and quite unapologetic, when I get a thought and an emotion attached to it, I am a freight train, and you either hop on, or fuck off right out of the way. So here’s what I want to write. Call it an open letter if you’d like.

Yesterday there was a post from Blabbermouth that kept popping up on my newsfeed. I tried to ignore it, but then felt this weird feeling in the back of my mind, call it my spidey sense, and I needed to speak out. The post in question was an interview done with Rob Hakemo who is the bassist of The Resistance. Never heard of him? No worries, that’s okay. In the interview he blasted Jesper Strömblad’s addiction problems out into the public, and not only that but went as far as saying that Jesper saved the band by quitting.

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This in itself is pretty funny, not that he said those things–I will get to that in a minute–but essentially he makes this loud and proud statement that the band was saved by Jesper quitting, meanwhile he just crapped all over his chances of being respected and by association his band’s chances.

I met Jesper back in 2008 when he was still in In Flames. He was quiet but kind. I do not know him on a super personal level, so I am not writing this in honor of an old friendship, but indeed as a matter of respect. It is somewhat common knowledge that Jesper indeed has had his battles with alcoholism, BUT my problem with Mr.Hakemo going on record about these things is that, it is not his story to tell. Not only that but how believable of a source is he when he just goes on and on about it like a gossiping 16 year old girl? The line that honestly made me want to punch him in the face was:

“So he’s an alcoholic or drug addict. I think he doesn’t want to go sober.”

Did no one else feel a problem with this statement?  His entire statement stands on two assumptions. “I think” isn’t a credible line to be printing. Especially following such a line of thought. Someone also mentioned to me that maybe he was being lead to answer with these statements. I say that someone who has even the slightest bit of common sense would know that saying NOTHING is also an option.

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To get a bit more personal about it, and why this infuriated me, I know what alcoholism does to a person. I’ve seen it firsthand on more than one occasion, with people who I love dearly. Had anyone tried to talk shit about their struggles, I would probably rip them apart. Whether or not Jesper is sober and clean at the moment, I can’t say because I truly don’t know. Mainly because it is none of my business. The truth is that addiction is a long battle. It is up and down all the time. Addiction coupled with depression, is virtually one of the hardest mountains a person can try to climb. But these struggles, these demons are VERY VERY personal ones. To go on record, and talk straight out of your ass about someone and have it posted on the internet is the lowest of the low. YOU JUST DON’T FUCKING DO THAT. Honestly I can’t believe we even need to have this conversation.

Here’s the real message I have though. If for some reason you thought throwing Jesper under the bus would have people talking about The Resistance, then well you’re correct on that point, BUT if you thought this was going to be a good thing for the band, and people would be running around trying to listen to the music, just gotta tell ya…”You shot that horse in the face” Personally if I didn’t really bother to listen to the band before, I am certainly not going to bother with it now. You made yourself and the entire band look like a bunch of tools.This isn’t the hall of a school where people will point and whisper about others. You put your livelihood on the line by opening your mouth.

I honestly think Jesper deserves an official apology. There are lines and boundaries you don’t cross. Telling someone’s problems, or in this case Supposed problems out into a public forum, is a big NO NO. I am guessing you don’t really have anyone guiding you through the ins and outs of press. Well let me guide you then, STOP TALKING.

Like I said before, you probably don’t know who Rob Hakemo is, and at this point, no one is going to want to know him. Good luck digging yourself out of this shit storm sir.

 

Books, Geek Stuff, Metal

Monthly Recommendations – April

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I decided I would start a monthly Recommendation post. I post a lot of reviews and such, but this would be a good place to come if you’re looking for something new to check out, and you’re just not sure what you should check out next. I will probably keep it to books mostly, but I think I will also sprinkle a movie, show or music or some combination of those as well.

So let’s get to it.

Amulet Series by Kazu Kibuishi

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I recently read the first two in this series, and fell instantly in love with the story. The Amulet series is a series of children’s graphic novels. It is considered middle grade to be exact. The themes are a bit dark, so if you’re wondering if this would be good for your own children, I would recommend reading it first yourself, as only you can truly say what your child can and cannot handle. I did really love the way this story is written though.

While the themes have a certain darkness to them, I also think it packs a moral punch, just like Harry Potter. Kabuishi_Harry_Potter_and_the_Sorcerer's_Stone_CoverSpeaking of which, if the art style looks familiar to you Potterheads, that’s because Kazu Kibuishi designed the new covers for the special editions of the Harry Potter books that were released for the 15th Anniversary of the series. The art style is really gorgeous, and the reason I discovered his own series, was through my love of Harry Potter. The imagination behind the story in the Amulet series will have you hooked. You do not need to be a child to read it, just like you don’t need to be a child to enjoy HP.

 

 

Shattered Sea Series by Joe Abercrombie

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The Shattered Sea Series starts with the novel Half a King. I have already spoken quite highly of it on a number of occasions, but feel that this is a great recommendation for those of you who might be going through Game of Thrones withdrawals, and I mean the books, not the tv show. George R.R.Martin himself has a blurb on the books. Personally it has a similar feel to Game of Thrones, but it is more fast paced, and a lot less jumping around from point of view to point of view. I highly recommend you check this series out.

Lost Ocean Coloring Book by Johanna Basford

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I realize that the adult coloring books have become a trend, but I really adore them. This one in particular is quite beautiful. For me, when I am having a really bad time with my anxiety, a nice cup of tea, an audio book, and a coloring book can help me wind down a bit. It’s not miracle work of course, but it helps me focus my energy a bit, and I really love the artwork in this one. If you haven’t given the adult coloring a try, this would be a nice one to check out.

Man Up

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Little known fact about me: I LOVE SIMON PEGG. I think he’s the biggest geek to ever geek. I recently watched this movie when I wanted something more light hearted to watch, and I ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would. It’s worlds away from Shaun of the Dead, but I loved it still. Yes, it is a romantic comedy, so if you’re looking for something to watch on date night, this might be a cute one to check out.

Stranded by Gojira

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Stranded is the brand new single from French metal band Gojira. It is the first song of their new album Magma that will be released in June. I have been waiting for a new release from this band for a while now, and I have to say I really love the new tune. Some may not feel the same, but I have learned a long time ago, that I can’t listen to the opinions of some of the hardcore metalheads because any slight melody and they feel the song isn’t heavy enough. I personally love Stranded, and it has me really excited for the new album.

Those are my recommendations for the month of April. Come back next month for a new list of recs from me.

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Books, Metal

Unbuilt by Randy Blythe and Alex Skolnick

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Photo from Unbuilt site

Unbuilt is a project that has come together with the ideas and the work of Tom Bejgrowicz, Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), and Alex Skolnick (Testament). When looking through all the metal news blogs –Honestly skip the comments section, it’s like daycare for mindless assholes– You find that the big news here is that this will not be a digital undertaking, but it will be available in physical printed copies. This seems to be shocking for some, but for me, a physical book buying hoarder, I think it’s brilliant.

Unbuilt is a magazine that will be independently published and ad free. It will come to us on a biannual basis, and the focus of the publication will be culture and lifestyle. It will be limited to 1,250 copies worldwide, and if you somehow needed an extra push to lay down the $9.00 (not including shipping) $1.00 of each magazine sold will be split and donated to the Humane Society International and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

You can find more news on the Unbuilt site.

I think it will be interesting to see what each issue of Unbuilt will show us. I think people in the metal community are dismissing it simply because it is not digital, but being a part of the book community online, I find that many people, especially ones who are lovers of word and culture tend to like the old school path. While I am one that sort of has a mishmash of digital and physical copies of both books and music, the over 600 books on my shelves would tell you that I indeed love being able to hold what I am reading, and I will certainly contemplate getting a copy(depending on shipping costs to Germany)

Whether or not this will be a long term project or not, I wish them all the best. I for one am intrigued as I follow Randy Blythe on Instagram and have seen his beautiful photographs, and even agreed with some of his book recommendations he’s done on there. Bookworms unite!!

Unbuilt will ship out worldwide April 26th so get your copy while the supply lasts!

Metal, Metal Monday

You’re Not Metal Enough – Metal Monday

I spent a lot of time since I was about 12 being introduced to different bands in the Metal genre. It slowly crawled into my life, and suddenly it took over. It has been the kind of music that I most listen to. I love the metal community. I think they’re some of the most passionate people on this planet. Some of the best people who are a part of my life in one way or another came through because of bands I love.

Take the band In Flames for instance, if I never listened to them, and became such a big fan, there are so many people that wouldn’t be a part of my world at the moment, that just the thought kind of makes my heart hurt.

Taken by Neil Lim Sang
Taken by Neil Lim Sang

But I have a problem with the metal community as well, and that problem is the idea or the inclination that someone or a band is not “metal enough” for this reason or the other. I can describe in detail the number of times I have had these discussions. I can also talk about the times that local bands felt the need to talk shit about known bands on public forums. Even if you are the ULTIMATE local act, you are still at the bottom of the barrel in the grand scheme of things, and should just be respectful of other bands. You don’t have to love everything that is released but you don’t have to be a dick about it either. Especially if you are on the hunt to get a record deal or jump on a tour. It is common sense, and common courtesy.

As an In Flames fan, I have heard all the little fanboys get their panties in a knot about the direction of their sound. Again, you don’t have to like it. The band likes the music they are making, plenty of fans who have been around for more than a decade (raises hand) like the new music as much as the old, but if you don’t like it, stop wasting your time and your breath being a disrespectful prick about it. At the end of the day, NO ONE CARES. You are whining and speaking into the void.I will forever remember when A Sense of Purpose was released, actually even before release when the artwork was revealed and some people had a downright conniption over how colorful the artwork was, and how it wasn’t “metal” at all.

All the colors of the rainbow!!!
All the colors of the rainbow!!!

This is starting to happen with other bands as well that I enjoy. Moonspell’s new album had a lot of fans up in arms saying that the sound isn’t metal, or that it’s too soft. More recently Trivium released new songs that have some of their “fans” ticked off. Here’s where I can’t really understand these people nor will I ever understand:

You do not have to like everything a band releases. You should on the other hand want to be a decent human being. Something that seems to be quite rare these days. You can say “nice job, not really my thing, but congrats!” or say nothing at all. (that is your best option really) There are plenty of bands I never listen to, bands I don’t particularly like, but I don’t go out of my way to voice those opinions. What’s the use? The only person that would look like an absolute tool, is me. I know most guys in these metal bands DO NOT just listen to Metal. They listen to so much different shit. Keep an open mind, it will get you further in life.

I mean I get this thrown at me at times too. I listen to a lot of different music. Basically it looks like a record store puked into my iPod, but I prefer heavy riffs and metal songs. I have been called a poser. I have been told I am not Metal enough. To those I say, I have stepped onto the stage of Wacken Open Air and looked out into the crowd. I have met some bands, and been to shows all over different countries. I don’t give a shit, if you think I am Metal enough or not. I have experienced things you will never even see, and normally I am humble, but you want to know why these things will never come your way?

Wacken can you hear them?!
Wacken can you hear them?!

NO ONE likes someone with a crap attitude. NO ONE will take your band seriously if you spend most of your time talking shit about bands that have done 100 times more than you. You know what’s not metal at all? Whining like a fourth grader.

That’s not metal.

Enough.

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Metal, Metal Monday

Metal Monday

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This is the first story in my Metal Monday theme, and I thought what better story to tell then the story of how I was able to take a picture with Robb Flynn and Anders Friden. This entry is coming from an old blog, where I wrote about this special weekend back in 2012. I hope you will enjoy it: 

This weekend had all kinds of moments.

Moments of Laughter

Moments of Happiness

Moments of Home sickness

Moments of ‘Is this really happening?!’

But best of all, moments of realization. I know I have a lot of those right now, but there is so much going on, that it is hard for certain things not to wake me up from the deep slumber I have been in, for what seems like forever.

I met some new people this weekend that made the whole thing not only amusing but also incredible. It is strange to be surrounded by happiness and laughter instead of anger and stress but I welcome the change with open arms. I tend to take a lot of photos in these situations and can tell you there will be more photos to be posted, but for now bare with my ramblings.

Dom and I drove for about 6 hours up to Nils’ place where I enjoyed some good food and great company. Then we were off to the airport in Hamburg where we had to meet up with the tour bus(night liner or whatever you want to call it) that was taking us to Wacken. So here’s the kicker, I slept once again in a bunk, which this time was quite uncomfortable. No complaining the next morning because it could be worse, I could be back in NJ and lets face it that would suck donkey balls. (if you just shook your head at that statement, please stop reading now, I never claimed to be proper and classy) Showers are like a lovely rare jewel you find in the dust, and when you step into these on site showers your first thought, (as a lady anyway) “where the fuck am I putting all of my crap?!” then you get past that and wonder if this is truly a shower or a soaking in semi dusty trailers. Whatever it is, you still step out feeling fresher and smelling like candy and not like sweaty ball sacks.

The next thing to wonder about is what will be available at catering, which hasn’t been so bad the past few times I’ve tagged along. I usually take the stroll hoping for some coffee. Coffee makes me human, before the liquid gold I am somewhere in between a troll and a zombie. Wacken was cool because they had a few options at dinner, including sushi but I am not a huge fan of the stuff unless it is fresh but who really gives a fuck about sushi, that’s not why you chose to read this.

When we arrived at Wacken, Volbeat was on stage and I enjoy them but didn’t make much of an effort to see them. The In Flames crew was starting to set up after their set which might have been at 1am or somewhere close to that. So cases were being rolled everywhere and scaffolding was being built up on stage. I had no real reason to be awake at that point, there was nothing for me to do and I was free to go to sleep but I find all of it too interesting to go to bed. Especially when the man I love is working hard until late late hours, I feel less of a tag along and more of a support system staying awake.

I am glad I did because I received some amazing advice from Jez. Sometimes you need to know someone has been in your shoes so you truly know that you’re not alone. Love that man like an older brother who is free to pick on you but will fuck someone up if they mess with you. I appreciate people like that.

I went to bed when Dom was good to go to bed, and fell asleep at some point even though it felt like I was sleeping in a coffin with air conditioning. The next day is filled with new faces and emotional moments. All day I carried around a little heart with the initials R.C. On it. My friend who passed a way a few months ago loved Wacken and I felt it to be a sign of love and respect to have that with me all day. In fact during the closing song for In Flames set “my sweet shadow” I cried. It was dark enough where I hoped no one saw but now all of you reading this know it. Fuck you if you are laughing.

A beer here, a beer there… I met Henry Rollins .. :: scratch on disc :: back the fuck up you say?! Okay!!

Henry Rollins did a performance of his spoken word stuff and after I made Dom run out of the tent so I could try to catch henry. I had a mission to meet him and I am glad to say mission accomplished!!! “you’re awesome” yes that’s what my numb nuts of a brain decided to say to him. It’s okay though, he is still one hell of an inspiration for me so fuck it, I MET HENRY FUCKING ROLLINS!!

Some more sleeping in a coffin and I wake up in Belgium! It was a day off for everyone so I joined the crew guys out on the town and man was the town filled with all kinds of activity. It was like a state fair blew up in the streets only better because it’s Europe and not filthy. We all had beers, shots of some kind of alcohol and surprisingly enough I wasn’t drunk, can’t say the same for some others hahahahaha. After some more drinking, Belgian waffles, kebab, and a chain of swear words Dom and I headed back to the bus. The next day I showered “where the fuck does my stuff go now?!” and enjoyed the rest of the day.

At lunch Dave from Machine Head ate at our table and I wanted to spew out phrases like “you’re a machine on the drums” or “your bald head is shiney” followed by “I say stupid shit when I’m nervous” but I stayed fairly quiet. Later in the day he actually handed me a pair of drumsticks and I spoke to him briefly and I am sure I said some stupid shit(nervous).

In Flames once again put on one hell of a show, and then I watched Machine Head as well. It was glorious and it became incredible very soon after. I had a couple of drinks, and even Dom had a few and we hung out with everyone backstage(oooooooh fancy….) Nigel of Saxon was such a cool person I told him he was my new hero but he wasn’t able to upstage the fact that a few feet away Anders Friden and Robb Flynn were talking to each other, about what, I do not know, I do know Dom and I politely interrupted and asked if I could have a photo with two of my favorite lead singers. Both obviously, happily took the photo with me. Robb that night called me the Yoko Ono of road crews and then there was a bet made involving a colorful shirt and a cat woman costume with Anders .

All in all I laughed A LOT and cleared my mind more than I knew was possible. Obviously many details are left unsaid because I realize this is literally a rambling, but before I go I need to say that Dominik is the type of person everyone adores and I see it all the time at these shows. I am a lucky girl and I know I will be lucky for the rest of my life.

Up until now I knew deep down that many fans would probably kill to be in my shoes but I’ve never rubbed it in anyone’s face or bragged. I share my adventures (sometimes even guitar picks and other random goodies with people i know)because I like telling tales but this band is important to me and my mental well being for years now and that little 14 year old Joana is still always freaking out every time, deep in my heart and mind.

Final Statement:

So this was something from 2012, almost 3 years ago. That summer I tagged along and saw In Flames in Poland,Sweden,Switzerland,Germany, and Belgium. It was the most stressful and yet amazing summer of my life. I don’t think I will ever be able to put clearly into words the way this band has changed my life, or helped me in moments that felt awful. I have been a fan for almost 16 years, That is more than half my life. I have a tattoo of their logo, I have a lot of things that will forever connect me to them. I have lost count of the amount of shows I have seen, but it is somewhere over 40. I still have the very first wristband from the very first show I ever went to. So many people have come into my life because of this band, and this music. So whether you’re a fan of theirs or not, I think you can appreciate what a band or their music means to an individual. Every one has a different story, and a different connection to a different band.

Tell me your story.